Catherine Biocca at Fondazione VOLUME!

Artist: Catherine Biocca

Exhibition title: POV (You’re my leftovers and I am happy to see you)

Curated by: Lorenzo Benedetti

Venue: Karma International, Zurich, Switzerland

Date: December 12, 2021 – February 11, 2022

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Karma International, Zurich

Thinking of tracing past experiences in the depths of our mind is pure illusion, there is nothing to trace, there is no mental depth to look for. We invent interpretations of ourselves and of other people, of our memories, starting from the perceptions of the moment. Introspection is not perception but invention. Our mind improvises, it decides everything with remarkable speed. The important aspect is to make thoughts and behaviour coherent.

We are animals designed to create new worlds according to what we perceive we are, above all, storytellers, creators of stories that shape our identity, our character and our conception of the world.

VOLUME! has been something unusual and uncommon since its beginning. Not so much for what was apparently its main feature (allowing to each single artist to modify the space in total freedom), but for that sought-after narrative sequence, a real structure, made up of different interventions each time, designed to create a concatenation of impressions and emotions in dialogue with each other.

In this particular historical phase, we decided to modify the project again and transform VOLUME! into a double space, a house full of ambiguity. In fact, through a wooden door on Via di San Francesco di Sales, we enter a room characterized by a non-colour that invades the walls, the floor and the ceiling. The room is conceived as a sort of mysterious waiting room, a space familiar and alienating at the same time, capable of changing over time, even if imperceptibly. This space thus becomes a necessary pause between the outside world and the actual work that will be created by the artist. The work itself can only be seen by entering a second room, after the visitor has been granted permission to enter. In the space dedicated to the wait, the artist will not present a canonical installation intervention, but the creation of an atmosphere, of a moment of passage that can sew a narrative between the outside world and the intervention designed for the second space. This environment, lacking any spatial reference, has been designed ( under Michele De Lucchi’s suggestion) to allow everyone to have a personal experience of perception, a moment of meditation and intimacy with the work. An inevitable dialogue will be created between inside and outside: an active wait and a contemplative immersion.

We live in a historical moment of light and darkness, of shared spaces and spaces that are totally our own. Within VOLUME! we will live this same experience: sharing and waiting, and then plunging into a space in which we can feel “at home”, in the “quiet place” of which Peter Handke speaks (perhaps at the end of what the Austrian writer calls a “successful day”); a space without space, without edges, a small room in which, however, it is possible to get lost.

The first artist to confront this new exhibition concept is Catherine Biocca who, with her intervention entitled “POV, You are my leftovers and I am happy to see you”, constructs a complex environment in order to propose a reflection on existential questions as well as on language or the use of it.

VOLUME! becomes a space in which the reference to language – to its conventionality (its artificial cleansing) and its ambiguity – takes shape in various elements that lead to an encounter with a dazzling, almost otherworldly light, and with a question or, more correctly, an advice or a request, to which it is difficult to give an answer. The presence of POV (Point Of View) in the title, in fact, alludes to videos posted on social platforms such as Tik Tok, in which an imaginary dialogue with the user is simulated, mimicking their point of view.

Biocca’s work seems to remind us how our ability to dodge unpleasant situations or to ” fix” something that has gone wrong or is unexpected, only apparently protects us from the outside world, from ourselves and from the questions we dare not ask ourselves. Indeed, it seems to ask: what is left of our life, of its enactment, and of our use of communication? And what happens when, suddenly, we are faced with reality or with questions posed by who knows who (perhaps a modern oracle) in a sibylline manner?

Catherine Biocca was born in Rome, Italy 1984 where she got her BA in Political Sciences at the Luiss University 2006. She studied fine arts at the Academy in Düsseldorf, where she got her BA and MA in 2010 and 2013.  In 2014-2015 she was a resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. She currently lives and works in Berlin and in Rome. Her work was shown in several international shows, such as the 3rd animation Biennial Shenzhen, Kunstverein Nürnberg and Kunstmuseum LOK St Gallen.